Part II – Bear Referendum
Chapter 1 – Earth Messiah
Late November, 1995.
Western Canada Wilderness Committee is a Vancouver-based environmental group specializing in wilderness preservation. In 1995, it had a membership of approximately 25,000, a full time paid staff of about a dozen people, a part-time staff of about eight, and dozens of volunteers. Since its inception in 1981, it has campaigned successfully to preserve such pristine places as South Morseby Island, the Kutzeymateen Grizzly bear sanctuary, the Stein Valley, Carmanah and Clayoquot Sound, for posterity, to perpetuity. People call it WCWC, or, usually with affection, “W-C-squared”.
Its founder is Paul George, who served as one of WCWC’s four executive directors, the other three being campaign directors Adriane Carr and Joe Foy, and comptroller Brian Conner.
One day in November 1995, Paul George received a phone call from Anthony Marr, in which Anthony said without preamble, “I’m calling to see if your organization has room for one more campaign.”
“What do you have in mind?” asked Paul.
Anthony briefly presented his vision of the BET’R Campaign (BET’R standing for Bear, Elephant, Tiger and Rhinoceros – the four major mammalian species most used in the old time traditional Chinese culture), and, now that it is airborne, that it needed support to stay airborne and gain altitude. Paul agreed on a meeting. They set a date, and said good-bye.
On the set date, with Adriane away and Brian busy in financial matters, Paul and Joe met Anthony in the board room of WCWC’s maze-like warren in Vancouver’s Gas-Town, during which Anthony presented a package containing newspaper clippings and audio-video tapes of newscasts on the BET’R campaign, and thirty letters of endorsement written by professors of various fields and universities praising highly a lecture given by Anthony Marr, on a scientific theory he had advanced.
In their second meeting a week later, Paul George agreed that WCWC would take on the BET’R Campaign, with Anthony retained as WCWC’s “BET’R Campaigner” at a salary of $30,000 per annum, which is substantially lower than his salary at Zenon Environmental Inc., his previous place of employ.
As of January 1, 1996, Anthony Marr became a full time campaigner of Western Canada Wilderness Committee, and the BET’R Campaign became a WCWC flagship campaign.
I take this opportunity to present to you a first glimpse of an example group of planet saviors under the banner of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, or planet savers, if they want to be over-humble about it. These people are in there for the planet, first and foremost. Most people regard their family as top priority, and so do these planet savers. But these planet savers are the ones with the deep understanding that without the planet, there could be no home, that the planet needs saving, and how desperately it does. To the millions in the “silent majority”, planet saviors exist only in Superman comic books, and science fiction as exemplified by the book in his hands some years ago, titled Dune Messiah.
I have no problems with comics and science fiction. Incredible as they maybe, and anthropocentric as they should not be, I consider them inevitable, perhaps even indispensable, in a technological society such as yours. But considering the state the planet Earth is in, I could not help but interrupt his escape with a question, “Why read Dune Messiah when you can BE Earth Messiah?”
He snapped out of the melodramatic climax in which he was sweating, thought about my question and sweated a little more, then set the book down regretfully. Having regained his composure and re-oriented himself to Earth reality, he asked, and not for the first time, “Raminothna, just who are you?”
As usual, when asked this question, I answered: “I am Raminothna, the fortunate and the called upon, at your service.”
This time, he changed to asking, “WHAT are you then?”
Raminothna: “When you can tell me what you are, you will know what I am.”
Anthony: “Where are you from?”, after which the following conversation ensued.
Raminothna: “The Cosmos.”
Anthony: “What planet exactly?”
R.: “The Earth, you might say.”
A.: “But, this is the Earth.”
R.: “Most planets capable of naming themselves name themselves “The Earth”, in their own languages of course.”
A.: “Which Earth is yours then?”
R.: “When you know which Earth yours is, you will know which Earth mine is.”
A.: “Alright, what are you here for?”
R.: “Ideally, for the same reason as what you are here for.”
A.: “What am I here for?”
R.: “I thought you’d never ask.”
A.: “And your answer?”
R.: “I’d have you know that you have just asked yet another momentous universal question, one posed by all intelligent beings throughout the universe, even if their answers be as mundanely selfish as ‘to make money’, or as spiritually selfish as ‘to go to Heaven’. Whatever it be, the answer can only come from within the questioner himself/herself/itself/themselves/yourself/ourselves.”
A.: “Fine. How about this, then: By what means did you come to this Earth.”
R.: “There are at least four general means for visiting a planet, by at least one of which have I come, as have you.
“The first and most obvious is of course technology, involving space ships, hyperspace-craft, worm holes, teleportation, creative genetics, robotics, artificial high-intelligence, time machines, and their like, of which the limitations are exceeded by their possibilities, which, however, are often considered, by the technologically less advanced at least, to be impossible.
“The second, in certain circumstances a special case of the first, and in certain imagined forms indeed impossible, is telepathy – Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind, as it were, where the visitor experiences the planet through a chosen native creature, by seeing through its eyes, walking on its feet, feeling through its heart, thinking through its mind, and working through its hands – or whatever other manipulative appendages it may possess.
“The third, at times indistinguishable from the first and second, and always possible, is imagination – that of a certain highly imaginative native creature that is, who imagines such fourth-kind encounters with such vividness as to lend credence, in its own mind at least, to the real existence of such visitors as myself.
“And finally, the fourth but by far the most common and perhaps the best means of all is birth – to be born as a native creature of the planet, naturally, to visit the planet for one lifetime, such as yours.
“Regardless of means, therefore, for the duration of a beamed landing, or a telepathic communion, or a day dream, or a lifetime, as pauper or prince, for good or evil, to give or to take, in war or peace . . ., we are all fellow visitors of a certain planet at a certain time, for a certain purpose. And therefore, we all share our question in common: What am I here for?”
A: “So, what am I here for?”
R: “Some come as tourists, others as naturalists. Some come as destroyers, others as saviors. Some come to propagate and perpetuate lies, others to seek facts and speak truth. Some come to experience the flesh, others to purify the soul. Some come to learn, some to teach and some to merely sleep. While some come to Earth to read and re-read Dune, others come back from Dune to save the Earth. And while some come all this way to find Earth filled with cruelty, injustice, hypocrisy and pain, others, who feel fortunate and called upon in spite of all, hold that for every visit, regardless of circumstances, there is a joyful and meaningful purpose, or an array of joyful and meaningful purposes, from which the visitor may choose one or more, or, alas, less. Even for those who see their sojourn on Earth as agonizing, pointless and futile, they still have the purpose to leave.
“There are numerous means by which one can leave a planet, amongst which one of the easiest and least irreversible is to escape back to Dune, or conversely, as we both know, to die. But for those who can stand its sheer intensity and unrelenting realism, most of all, its uncompromising truth, there is nothing on Earth to compare with Earth, and no fictitious Dune Messiah can compare with a real Earth Messiah.
“My dear fellow Earth visitor, I wish you purposeful living, and joyful deliverance.”
Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)